Video Game / Tomb Raider II

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Don't you think you've seen enough?

Tomb Raider II is the second game in the Tomb Raider series. The sequel to Tomb Raider, it was released in 1997 for the PlayStation and PC; a Sega Saturn version was planned but dropped due to technical limitations. The next year, another sequel was released, titled Tomb Raider III.

Lara is after the legendary Dagger of Xian, which is said to give its owner "the power of a dragon". She finds herself in conflict with Italian mob boss/cult leader Marco Bartoli, who is after the same item. Locations in the game include Venice, an offshore oil rig, the sunken ocean liner Maria Doria, Tibet and the Great Wall of China.

The game was generally considered as an Even Better Sequel, although many considered it to have too much combat (the final kill-streak is well above 400).

Creator Toby Gard left Core Design during the development of this game, due to "Creative Differences" (he was unhappy with Lara's oversexualisation), and co-founded Confounding Factor. Their first game was Galleon, a Spiritual Successor to Tomb Raider that took about ten years to make. It was actually pretty damn good, but bombed on release. Confounding Factor closed down shortly afterward.

This game features examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Like in the previous game, there are hidden areas or locations that require specific movements to reach. Unlike the previous game, each secret contains a dragon statue that grants nothing at first. However, collecting all 3 statues in a level rewards you with a hefty supply of ammo, health kits, or sometimes a new gun if you didn't get it yet. Getting all the secrets is just for pure bragging rights.
  • Actionised Sequel: Much more gunplay and human enemies to be found and fought in this game, and this was one basis of criticism compared to the predecessor.
  • Advertising Campaigns: The U.S. had a rather infamous series of them: A camera would roam areas where men would be found: Bars, men's bathrooms, basketball courts, and strip clubs; said venues were empty, because these men were all at home playing the latest Tomb Raider game. The slogan was, "Lara's back."
  • Ancient Tradition: The many rituals surrounding the Dagger of Xian.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: Like in the previous game, there's one level where your equipment is stolen, but you still get to keep all the ammo and medi-packs you collected.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Not that glaring, since the entire game runs on Rule of Cool, but Lara would suffer from decompression sickness. First she dives for at least 40 fathoms (which is 70 meters), then very quickly ascends from that depth and then hijacks a plane, flying at high altitude, all in very quick succession.
  • Ascended Glitch: A well-known glitch called the "corner bug" allows Lara to warp to the top of tall structures and explore normally unreachable areas, the most significant being the roof of her mansion. The mobile port actually rewards the player with an secret achievement for getting up there.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The dagger of Xian is this, changing the user into a dragon. Permanently. And with a relatively big weakness.
    • The M-16 is devilishly powerful... but requires standing still or walking forward to shoot at all. Since the entire combat system is built around evading enemies with impossible acrobatics, this greatly decreases the usefulness of the rifle.
    • The grenade launcher, both the weapon itself and where it's found. The weapon fires at a low arc and reloads slowly, making the weapon less than ideal on mobile targets. The weapon can be found in the very first level if you found all the dragon statues, but it's located in a deep pit that has two T. Rexes hunting you down.
  • Bad Boss: During their flight with Lara hidden onboard, Marco punches his pilot in the gut simply because said pilot merely suggested that Marco could be looking in the wrong place for the Seraph. This causes the plane to go into a nosedive for several seconds until the pilot recovers and regains control of the plane.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Part of the game takes place in Tibet, so obviously yetis make an appearance. Then there is that thing at the end of the Ice Palace level.
  • Blatant Lies: The backcover of the original game promised "smoother control system" and "refined game engine". Right...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After finishing the final level, Lara goes to take a shower and is about to undress until she turns to face the camera and says "Don't you think you've seen enough?" before grabbing her shotgun and shooting the camera out.
    • Which itself comes with further meaning - the developers told Eidos after finishing their work they were not going to make another Tomb Raider unless they were given a break.
  • Bonus Boss: The two T. Rexes in The Great Wall level.
  • Bookends: The game starts at the Great Wall of China and the end of Lara's adventure also ends at the same location (excluding the epilogue level, Home Sweet Home).
  • Boring, but Practical: The shotgun, full stop. Medium range, medium power, common ammo, still perfectly fine against the lion share of enemies. To a lesser extent, the automatic pistols, which are basic pistols in every regard, but with double the damage. Unfortunately, they are quickly rendered obsolete by Uzis by the very next level.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played absolutely straight with basic dual pistols, that don't need to be reloaded and come with an infinite supply of bullets. Then there is most of the remaining weapons, which come with a limited ammo count, but never need to be reloaded. The only exceptions are the Harpoon Gun (needs to be reloaded each 4 shots) and Grenade Launcher (reloaded after each shot).
  • Chase Scene: A positively epic cutscene after the Ice Palace level. It involves Lara in a car chase in snowy mountains, explosions, jumping over chasms and shooting with the baddies.
  • Climax Boss: The confrontation with a dragon definitely qualifies.
  • Continuity Nod: When starting the tutorial level, Lara mentions that after that gruelling business last year, she decided to build an assault course to build up her skills.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: By blowing up or just prying open the gate to Temple Of Xian. There is nothing special or supernatural about said gate, yet Lara spends most of the game searching for a key. Fiamma Nera brings it further, spending the last 50 years doing so. There's also no indication that the dagger itself couldn't be destroyed, which the monks could have done centuries ago.
  • Dark Horse Victory: In a generation-spanning conflict between mafia cultists and an ancient order of Tibetan monks, where neither side has made plans that take a certain self-starting, interloping Adventurer Archaeologist into account, guess who wins?
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: The Opera House has several of them inside vents and there's many slopes that will gladly send you sliding to your doom if you stumble upon them. The Oil Rig has fans that are much larger, underwater, and can suck you into them with their currents.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Thanks to the ability to save at any point, dying is trivial as long as you save frequently. The trope is much more apparent on the PC version where you can save across multiple slots without any loading whatsoever, in a way similar to save states.
  • Distant Prologue: The opening cutscene takes place somewhere in ancient China.
  • Double Unlock: Done as a story element to prevent the dagger artifact from being misused. Want access to the dagger? Go find the Talion to unlock the door. Know where the Talion is? Great! Make sure you found the Seraph first so you can unlock the door leading to the palace that contains the Talion in the first place!
  • Dual Wielding: It wouldn't be a Tomb Raider game without this trope. Lara's signature twin pistols return, along with dual semi-automatic pistols and dual Uzis.
  • Elite Mook: The muscular Dual Wielding revolver mook that can make quick work of you if you're not careful. He's also highly resilient to your bullets unless you decide to blast him with the grenade launcher. He only shows up twice in two separate levels.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The jeep chasing Lara in the cutscene instantly explodes after rolling over. The snowmobiles you drive can also explode if falls from a large height upon landing.
  • Excuse Plot: Roughly 3/4 of the game is spent on finding a key to open a gate. A pretty regular, wooden gate that by all means should barely hold together at this point of history. It gets extra points for Lara's style of work. If the door had been opened after the first level, the plot would be resolved within 4 levels and without Lara having to fend off a home invasion. Heck, the entire plot could be summed up as "Get magic artifact before the bad guy does." It also doesn't help that the game has the least amount of cutscenes compared to the rest of the games in the franchise.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Lara travels throughout the Tibetan mountainside wearing nothing but her shorts and a leather jacket, which aren't exactly suitable for a cold region. Lara can swim in the Tibetan waters without suffering from hypothermia as well (these were all averted in the next game).
  • Fan Remake: Nicobass, an established level-maker, is currently working as the leader of a three-person project (original was made by the team of 8) focused on remaking entire Tomb Raider 2 using Unreal Engine 4. So far, the works are going at steady pace, with all game-elements already being created and tested. Demo is supposed to be ready around Christmas. More details can be found on the project's site. It's often referred by the fandom as the "20th Anniversary Game".
  • Foreboding Architecture: As if titling the level Dragon's Lair wasn't enough, the room where Lara finds Marco Bartoli is just one, huge, empty chamber with a few water pits.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Lara is immune to her own grenades, even if she shoots enemies literally standing next to her.
  • Giant Mook: Yeti monsters. Meanwhile the huge bird-headed thingy in the end of Ice Palace is a Boss in Mook Clothing.
  • Giant Spiders: They show up in the Temple of Xian. Fortunately, they are rare, because they can take serious punishment.
  • Glass Cannon: The Dobermans in Venice have a vicious bite, but don't require many bullets to take down.
  • The Great Wall: Accept no substitute. On the other hand, the game clearly copies the Beijing-area section of the wall, while taking place somewhere in northwest China.
  • Grenade Launcher: It can be obtained as soon as the very first level. It's the most powerful weapon in the game, able to instantly kill all non-bosses in a single shot.
  • Grimy Water: The Diving Area has one pit filled with a toxic sludge that will kill Lara instantly if she falls into it.
  • Go Back to the Source: Lara journeys to the Great Wall of China to obtain the Dagger of Xian. Unfortunately, the door leading to it requires a special item to unlock. Lara then goes on a wild adventure taking her to Italy (to follow a mob boss and see if he knows anything), an off shore oil rig (meets a tortured monk who reveals that the item Lara seeks needs another item first before she can gain access), a deep sea wrecked ship (where said item is held), the mountains of Tibet (where she obtains the special item needed), and finally, back to the Great Wall with the required item to unlock the door. The item in question was likely created at the same time as the Dagger and was moved to a safe location after the artifact was returned to its source so that no one could abuse its power again.
  • Hammerspace: Probably the most extreme case in entire franchise. Due to the way how secrets were changed in this instalment, it is entirely possible to end up with thousands of bullets to different guns by the game end, not to mention the collection of the guns itself.
  • Guide Dang It: Most of the secrets aren't too difficult to find as long as you're paying attention and search carefully, but the gold dragon statue in the Ice Palace takes the cake for being super obscure to find. The room it's in is hidden behind a movable block whose texture almost perfectly blends in with the surrounding walls. Not only that, but the statue itself is across a large gap that has no platforms to jump on at all unless you take a Leap of Faith and land on the invisible walkway. The gold dragon statue in the Catacombs of the Talion is accessible by climbing up the walls and then turning around to spot the item, but the textures for the climbable surface blends in with the wall so much that it's quite easy to assume that it's just a normal wall.
  • Harpoon Gun: Makes its first appearance in the entire franchise. For obvious reasons useful mostly underwater and rather as a last-resort weapon - facing sharks with it is a really stupid idea.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: As par the tradition, the humble shotgun. This time around, Lara starts her adventure with one. The stopping power is very good, ammo is plentiful and it remains a reliable option till the very end. It's also Lara's only weapon in the final level.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The grenade launcher once you complete the game since it, along with the other weapons, gets infinite ammo.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Crossing the level's end line will end the level then and there, unless there is a boss to face first.
  • Key Behind The Sun Visor: Lara steals one of Fiamma Nera jeeps this way.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The best way to describe the effect grenades have on enemies.
  • Living Statue: Frozen jade warriors appear in the penultimate levels of the game; they animate after Lara does certain things near them. A glitch in the PC version allows Lara to damage them with grenades while they're still frozen, allowing her to pick them off easily once they wake up.
  • Logical Weakness: The dagger of Xian is the only thing keeping the person turned into a dragon alive. Should it be removed, the dragon dies and instantly decomposes.
  • Lost Forever: Did you blow up the side of the opera house in Bartoli's Hideout? Congrats, for you just blew up the jade dragon statue and screwed yourself out of a secret. Other secrets and items can also be lost forever if you advance past the Point of No Return.
  • The Mafia: The main antagonists of the game and doubles as a cult. Their leader, Marco Bartoli, seeks out the Dagger of Xian so that he can claim its powers for himself.
  • Marathon Level:
    • The entire game can feel like this. Not counting the very first level, each of them takes at least 30 to 45 minutes to get through and that's assuming you already know what to do and where to go. Without that knowledge, the time needed easily quadruples. Due to this the game, while having half the levels, is almost as long as the infamously long Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. On the plus side, certain levels are so well designed they feel too short, while taking hours to pass.
    • The Temple of Xian is practically the longest level in the entire game. It's so long that you can grab all three secrets within the first 30 minutes of the level, which means the rest of the level is a big slog through puzzles, traps, platforming, and a good amount of swimming.
  • Master of All: The Uzis. Great range, best fire rate, plentiful ammo (it's possible to carry 2 thousand rounds in spare, while extensively using the weapon throughout the game), sufficient stopping power and possible to use while jumping and running around. The developers knew of this since every level from the Tibetan Foothills and later practically showers you with ammo for the Uzis. Next game considerably nerfed them.
  • More Dakka: The Uzis and M-16 will make short work of enemies with a lot of bullets. The gun mounted snowmobile can also rip anything to shreds.
  • No-Gear Level: Lara gets captured by Bartoli's crew and is locked up in the oil rig with all of her guns taken away. You're forced to dodge gunmen and solve a few puzzles before you can get your pistols back.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: While the draw distance has improved from the last game, everything beyond said draw distance is a black void. This makes for a very chilling effect at the start of the 40 Fathoms level where you start off at the bottom of the seabed with no source of light and surrounded by pitch darkness everywhere while you try to find a source of air as a shark swims afters you.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Chinese-style dragons, with hefty dose of western influences. Not to mention they are created by a magical dagger with a power to scale up.
  • Outrun the Fireball: After escaping the temple with the dagger in hand, Lara races to escape the fireball coming up behind her before she makes one final leap to freedom outside. The temple promptly explodes and takes out a guardhouse at the Great Wall.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Pretty much every other weapon is made completely obsolete the moment Uzis are found. That's in the 3rd level of the game. Out of 18.
  • Plot Coupon: Lara needs to find Seraph, a key unlocking the vault containing Talon, a key to the Temple of Xian, where the Dagger of Xian is stored. Made even more blatant when you realise the Temple access is blocked by nothing more than a basic wooden gate.
  • Plunger Detonator: Seen near the end of Bartoli's Hideout, though Lara needs to find the key before she can use it.
  • Point of No Return: Some levels have certain points that will prevent you from backtracking. Go past that point and you will miss out on any items and secrets you didn't find.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: The final level happens a few days after the main events of the game and includes the remaining Fiamma Nera forces trying to storm Croft Manor.
  • Press X to Die: While a lot more complicated than pressing a single button to die, some cheat codes, when activated, happens to make Lara explode. The codes in question are the same as used in the previous game.
  • Properly Paranoid: The game basically demands this stance from players and to never, ever enter a new location without drawn guns. Lara even starts the game with flares and a shotgun in addition to her pistols and health kits.
  • Protect This House: The final level takes place in Croft Manor, invaded by the remaining Fiamma Nera forces. Mostly famous for having Lara fight in a skimpy bathrobe.
  • Reaction Shot: When Marco claims the Dagger of Xian and stabs himself in the heart, the camera cuts to Lara holding her hands over her mouth and gasping at the sight of what she saw.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: First indication yetis aren't going to be friendly are their glowing red eyes.
  • Rule of Cool: Let's face it, it's the most escapist of all Tomb Raiders ever made and the very reason why so many people like it. It also helps that the game is very self-aware of this. Just to list few things out of the very long list: an Italian cult/mafia started out by a stage magician in a pursuit of an ancient artifact, said artifact turning the user into a dragon, yetis and other cryptids, animated jade statues, locations clearly defying laws of physics, warrior monks, impossible car chases, obligatory T. Rex... The list can go on and on.
  • Scaled Up: The dagger of Xian turns the user into a dragon. And by use it means plunging it into your heart. The transformation takes some time to occur. Should the dagger be removed, the dragon instantly dies.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Your first enemy encounter is a tiger (which is similar to the bears from TR1 difficulty-wise), not a bat. You'll encounter deadly traps in the deeper parts of the first level. Things only escalate from there.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • In the second level, the exit is guarded by a cluster of mines that will explode if you touch them and they'll kill you. Normally, you have to speed towards the mines on your boat and jump out so the boat itself triggers the mines and then get a second boat to proceed with the timed puzzle that opens the exit. However, it is entirely possible to reach the exit without using a boat at all by just swimming the entire way and going below or in between the mines while bypassing the timer completely. However, this method isn't any faster or better than the normal way, but it is an interesting alternate solution to reach the exit.
    • Normally, you'd have to find and use the detonator key to blow up the side of the opera house so that you can use its rubble to climb up and reach the level's exit. By not blowing up the building, not only do you find the jade dragon statue, but you can also use some barely reachable ledges to get behind the structure and reach the exit without having to use the explosives in the first place, which saves you a few minutes.
    • In the Ice Palace, you need the Tibetan Mask to unlock a door. However, you can ignore the mask and go to the balcony next to the door, jump over it at the right angle, and simply use some ledges to climb up and reach the bridge that the door would have led to. This saves you at least one minute.
  • Shipshape Shipwreck: The Moria Doria is a sunken luxury ship containing a MacGuffin and there's four levels scouring the entire ship.
  • Shmuck Bait: 40 Fathoms' Silver Dragon sits at the end of a room in plain sight. If Lara just runs towards it, 4 disguised trap doors fall out below her and dump her into a gunfight with some goons.
  • Shout-Out: The way how Lara dispatches one of the jeeps chasing her is a recreation of the famous Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior shotgun scene, with a sudden leap out of the cabin and shooting the driver at point-blank range.
  • Spikes of Doom: You encounter them right in the first level in two flavours: pit of spikes and walls of spikes closing in on you. For the modern areas like the sunken ship or the opera house, you'll encounter pits of broken glass shards that serve the same purpose as spike pits. The Temple of Xian is also full of spiky death traps. Luckily, the spike/glass pits can be rendered harmless if you just walk through them whereas running will hurt you and falling on top of them gives the obvious result.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The game is very fond of explosions, be that motorboats, planes, cars or sections of the Great Wall of China. The grenade launcher can make enemies blow up as well.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: In the Wreck of the Maria Doria, a large medipack is placed in plain sight. In the fall that follows, Lara cannot avoid losing health; how much depends on the actions of the player. Then in the final level of the wrecked ship, there's a large health kit placed right before a very long drop to a raft below. The developers placed the health kit there so that you can survive the fall and you have no other way of approaching the raft anyway. Trying to jump down without full health will kill you instantly.
  • Threatening Shark: They show up in 40 Fathoms level and are one of the main reasons why it's so frightening.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Should players ignore or not get all secrets on a regular basis, ammo for most of weapons can get really scarce.
    • Averted with dual mini Uzis. They are by far the most efficient weapon in entire game, with ammo being plentiful even without obsessively collecting secrets.
  • Tutorial Failure: A strange case where the tutorial in a sequel does a worse job at explaining Lara's moves while the first game did a better job. You won't actually learn how to perform Lara's moves until you botch a section in the obstacle course, which will lead to a lot of trial and error. This was most likely due to the developers assuming that people already played the first game and remembered the mechanics.
  • Tutorial Level: Lara's obstacle course on her mansion grounds, which are separate from the main game itself. The obstacle course tests your skills with running, jumping, climbing, and swimming and you can set your personal best times as well.
  • Unique Enemy: Few bosses aside, the most obvious example are... spiders. There is just a handful of the regular ones, all in the first level and Temple of Xian. Meanwhile, there are only five giant ones, and all of them in the Temple of Xian level.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: Running out of health kits can be this in some situations where you have to fight some enemies and depending on who they are, avoiding their attacks can be impossible. Another flavor comes in the form of being forced to take fall damage while progressing in the level. If your health is too low to make the drop safely and you have no supplies left to heal with, you better hope you have a save from an earlier state you can load from!
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Averted for the mooks that use them against you. Being on fire will kill you in a matter of seconds unless you happen to be near a deep pool of water.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: Being a famous archeologist is not so good when the villains can easily track your home and try to take the artifact by brute force.
  • Vader Breath: A lot of the human enemies will pant and breathe heavily in their idle state. The divers also have loud breathing due to using an oxygen mask.
  • Warrior Monk: The Barkhang Monks in the Barkhang Monastery level use only spears to defend themselves with, but they have a lot of health and are capable of killing Bartoli's gunmen on their own. In fact, it's usually preferable for the player to just watch the fight and either finish off any gunmen that survive or pick up the items dropped by the gunmen if the monks survive. There were also a group of monks in the backstory that actually bombed Genni Bartoli's (Big Bad Marco Bartoli's father) luxury vessel in order to prevent the Seraph from being used so that no one would gain access to the Tailon, which would have given access to the dagger itself.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Her?: Unlike any previous or future situation, there was no real reason why the villain wouldn't just kill Lara rather than locking her up for No-Gear Level excuse.
  • You Can Barely Stand: More than justified. Ever since hitting Tibet, Lara doesn't even stop for a second to sleep or rest. And that's already assuming she caught some sleep while flying on autopilot. After that, she spends an entire day running around, then a non-stop drive to reach the Temple of Xian, then going through all the events inside. No wonder she outright passed out of exhaustion in the end.

Tomb Raider II received a 5-level Expansion Pack on PC called Tomb Raider: The Golden Mask. This time, Lara pursues the legendary Golden Mask of Tornarsuk, hidden under a Cold War-era Soviet mining complex in Alaska. These new levels are also bundled into the iOS port, accessed the same way as Unfinished Business in the Tomb Raider iOS port.

The Golden Mask contains examples of:
  • All Just a Dream: The mysterious Nightmare in Vegas. What exactly was going on in that hotel- one that includes Winston, bizarre, cheesy billboards, a Talion guardian locked up in a zoo, and 2 T-rexes on the streets?
  • Cold War: The actual event doesn't occur in the game, but this is the name of the first level. The mining base is run by Communist Russians, as the game not-too-subtly hints with massive hammer-and-sickles and Stalin mugshots plastered all over the walls.
  • Dirty Communists: The Soviet mines still contain soldiers who try to kill Lara. There are also walls textured with the hammer and sickle, as well as doors with giant portraits of Stalin, for some reason.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The unlockable 5th level, Nightmare in Vegas.
  • Palette Swap: Sasquatch is just yeti model, but brown rather than white.
  • Soft Water: A ridiculous example in the secret 5th level, Nightmare in Vegas. Lara has to jump off the 3rd story of a hotel and aim for a small trapdoor on the ground level that opens up just as she approaches...and dumps her in a pool of water.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Eventually Lara finds herself running through caverns made entirely of solid gold, as well as rivers and lakes of molten ore. At one point she comes across a literal gold volcano. She helps herself to absolutely none of it. Although it's justified in that she has no way to extract the gold, and the molten ore kills her on contact like lava.
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